There’s a pretty high standard when it comes to Collective Soul stuff, they’ve been a critical part of music since their independent album, “Hints Allegations and Things Left Unsaid.” Their last album “Youth” was their first album reentering the independent music scene and it was their poppiest album to date. It wasn’t a bad album; it was just a lot different than what Collective Soul fans were used to. Nonetheless the album was received well and the band prepped for another entry on their own label- the El Music Group. Enter 2007’s “Afterwords.”
The first thing that needs to be said about “Afterwords” is it’s only SLIGHTLY similar to “Youth”, which is a good thing. There are a few songs that have the youth vibe to them- “New Vibration”, “Hollywood”, and even “Georgia Girl” in some aspects. For the most part though, “Afterwords is a return to the old Collective Soul style. If anything, this album is what “Blender” should have been. Then the translation from “Dosage” to “Youth” would have made more sense. This album is most similar to “Disciplined Breakdown” the songwriting leans to that style, It’s pretty mainstream, like a lot of “Disciplined Breakdown” (“Precious Declaration” and “Time”), it’s just not as mainstream as “Youth.” Overall Ed Roland did a good job with the writing on this album. As for the playing/production, the high pitched overdriven guitars are here with some great solos and the band did a great job with the production of the album.
This is a strong set of Collective Soul songs, you would have liked to see more than 11 songs, especially on an independent release. Also, placement is sporadic at best and even though the comparisons to “Disciplined Breakdown” are warranted, two or three songs on this album really steer it away from any real direction. You’d like to see the band go back to their glory days of their debut on Atlantic- (how well do you think an album would do in 2007 with songs like “Shine” and a few ballads like “The World I Know?” I understand it’s pretty much impossible but modern MAINSTREAM rock is begging for stuff like that again- it would do extremely well.) Those glory days aren’t really possible when a world and the band is 12 years older, but it’s still a cool thought. Nonetheless, “Afterwords” is a decent set from the band and is slightly better than “Youth” which puts it somewhere in the middle of the pack in the band’s discography.